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What Kind of Damages Can I Claim in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?

Web Admin - Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Des Plaines medical malpractice lawyerWhen someone suffers a severe injury due to medical malpractice in Illinois, that person may claim two types of compensation from the medical professional or institution who committed the malpractice: 

- Economic damages, which compensate the patient for specific financial losses both past and future, such as medical expenses and lost earnings.

- Non-economic damages, which compensate the patient for physical and/or emotional pain and suffering, inconvenience, disfigurement, physical impairment, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life, per Illinois law 735 ILCS 5/2-1702.


Does Illinois Limit the Dollar Amount of Damages for Medical Malpractice?


Unlike some states, Illinois medical malpractice law places no limits on the amount of either economic or non-economic damages that you can receive in a lawsuit. However, the law does not allow the award of punitive damages, which are intended to punish a wrongdoer and discourage others from making the same mistakes, per Illinois law 735 ILCS 5/2-1115.

What Type of Medical Error or Injury Qualifies for Financial Compensation?


There are many times when medical treatments that do not have as good of an outcome as we had hoped. For example, a knee replacement surgery may not relieve as much of our pain or restore as much physical function as we had expected. A pain medication may not relieve all of our pain and may also have unpleasant side effects. This does not mean that medical malpractice has occurred. You can only claim medical malpractice when a doctor or other licensed medical professional fails to meet the generally accepted standard of care expected in a particular patient-care situation. 

For example, suppose a patient came into an urgent-care center saying that they think they broke their ankle when they fell off a ladder. The expected standard of care would call for an X-ray to be taken and, depending on the severity of the injury, the doctor might apply a cast or refer the patient to an orthopedic surgeon for an operation to repair the ankle. Now suppose that the treating physician did not order an X-ray, incorrectly interpreted the X-ray, or otherwise failed to treat the patient according to generally accepted standards. Let us further suppose that, as a result of the physician’s error, the patient’s ankle does not heal properly, leaving him with a permanent disability and unable to work in his former profession. Taken together, these circumstances suggest that this patient could win damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Consult an Experienced Schaumburg Medical Malpractice Lawyer


If you have suffered a severe injury that you believe can be attributed to misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, surgical error, improperly prescribed medication, or other treatment which deviated from the generally accepted standard of care, consult a knowledgeable Arlington Heights medical malpractice attorney. Call the law offices of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC at 847-934-6000 for a no-cost initial consultation.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.



Sources:
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=073500050HArt%2E+II+Pt%2E+17&ActID=2017&ChapterID=0&SeqStart=17700000&SeqEnd=19900000
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=073500050K2-1115

Recovering Damages When Injured on Chicago Area Public Transportation

Web Admin - Friday, December 21, 2018
Inverness bus accident injury lawyerIf you regularly utilize the public transportation network in Chicago and its suburbs, there are a number of ways in which you could be injured and have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit. Whether you ride buses or trains operated by Metra, CTA, or Pace, the potential causes of personal injuries are similar, including:

- A slip-and-fall that occurs at least in part due to the negligence of a bus or train operator. A fall attributable only to wet floors on a bus or train when it is raining outside is unlikely to qualify. On the other hand, CTA could be liable for a fall caused by an improperly trained driver who stopped their vehicle too quickly.

- Injuries attributed to faulty design or maintenance of a station platform or piece of equipment.

- Injuries sustained during a train derailment or a bus crash attributed to operator error. For example, Pace could be held liable if a bus driver causes a crash by running a red light, speeding, or being distracted by looking at their phone. However, if a collision is wholly the fault of another vehicle’s driver, Pace would generally not be liable.

- Wounds suffered by a pedestrian who is struck by a bus or train, or by parts flying off a bus or train, where it can be shown that the operator of the bus or train was at fault. If a person trespasses onto train tracks and is struck, they generally cannot hold the train operator responsible.

- Injuries inflicted by a public transit security officer who used excessive force or committed some other type of misconduct.


Time Is Critical in Chicago Public Transportation Injury Cases


If you believe you have a legitimate claim for damages against CTA, Metra, or PACE, you should contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. There are two reasons why Illinois personal injury cases involving public transportation are time sensitive. First, critical evidence must be protected, such as security video recordings that are typically only retained for a limited period of time before being erased or overwritten. An attorney must typically file an emergency protection order to preserve videos and other relevant evidence. Second, Illinois state law (745 ILCS 10/8-101) requires all claims against “local entities,” which includes local public transit authorities, to be filed within one year of the incident, versus a two-year timeframe for most other lawsuits. 

Recovery of Compensation from Transit Authorities is Possible


In 2017, a woman who was injured in a CTA train derailment was awarded more than $6 million in damages by a jury. She suffered injuries to her head, neck, and back when her head struck a metal pole and a door inside the train car. 

To compensate a man who was assaulted in a train station by Metra police officers, Metra agreed to an out-of-court settlement of $250,000 in 2017. The entire incident was captured on video.

Consult an Arlington Heights Public Transportation Accident Attorney 


If you have been injured on public transportation in the Chicago area, and you think you may have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit, talk to a knowledgeable Rolling Meadows personal injury lawyer without delay. The attorneys of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC will review your case at no cost to you. Contact us at 847-934-6000 to schedule a consultation.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.



Sources:
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=2062&ChapterID=58&SeqStart=8900000&SeqEnd=9200000
https://chicago.suntimes.com/news/woman-who-sued-cta-over-2014-blue-line-derailment-gets-6-5m/
https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/metra-police-beating-video-lawsuit-463813893.html

Marijuana a Rising Factor in Personal Injury Cases

Web Admin - Monday, September 17, 2018
Des Plaines marijuana product liability lawyerNow that 30 states (including Illinois) have legalized marijuana for medical use and nine also allow recreational use, the number of personal injury lawsuits involving cannabis is growing.

Background on the Cannabis Market


Over 100 distinct chemicals, broadly termed phytocannabinoids, are present naturally in the cannabis plant. Currently, two of the best-understood cannabinoids are THC, the psychoactive ingredient that produces a euphoric sensation, and CBD (cannabidiol), which has demonstrated pain-relieving, inflammation-reducing, neuro-protective, and cancer-fighting properties.

As scientists learn more about the way cannabinoids affect the human body and discover new applications for these chemicals, the variety of products made from cannabis is increasing. In fact, the U.S. market for legal cannabis is expected to grow 17% per year through 2028, reaching nearly $50 billion in annual sales. In comparison, U.S. wine sales are estimated at $65 billion. 

With such rapid growth, mistakes are bound to be made, and injuries are likely to result. 

Potential Grounds for Cannabis Personal Injury Lawsuits


Here are a few situations that could be grounds for a personal injury lawsuit against a marijuana producer/distributor: 

- Failure to warn of risks. If a cannabis product has the potential to impair a consumer’s ability to drive, or if it could affect a person’s thoughts or behavior in other ways that could prove dangerous, the packaging should provide appropriate warnings. If such warnings are not provided, and someone suffers an injury as a result, the producer/distributor could be sued for negligence and required to pay compensation to the victim. 

- Misleading or false advertising. If a producer says (in advertising, on packaging, or otherwise) that their product will provide a particular benefit, and the product fails to perform as promised, a consumer could file a lawsuit on the grounds of breach of contract or breach of warranty. 

- Product contamination. Many states do not yet have laws regulating the use of pesticides, fungicides, and other chemicals on marijuana crops, nor adequate procedures to enforce such regulations or test for toxins. Many lawsuits have resulted from contaminated consumables in other industries (e.g., E. coli in ground beef), and there have already been lawsuits against marijuana producers alleging harmful contamination. 

- Unsafe packaging. Marijuana products containing THC should be provided in packaging that is both child-resistant and tamper-evident, just as is required for other medicinal products that have a potential to cause harm. Portion sizes and the amount of THC per portion should also be made very clear on product labels. Defective packaging and foreseeable misuse could become grounds for a lawsuit. 

While the probability of a fatal overdose is near zero, marijuana is an intoxicant, and overconsumption can have serious consequences. Because of the potential for personal injury lawsuits, many states are requiring marijuana businesses to purchase liability insurance, so that funds will be available to compensate consumers for injuries caused by cannabis products.

An Arlington Heights Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help


If you or a loved one has been harmed by a medical cannabis product, consult an experienced Palatine personal injury attorney to discuss the details of your case and possible options for recovering compensation. The attorneys of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC provide skilled representation, working to protect your rights when you have been harmed by an unsafe product. Contact us at 847-934-6000 to schedule a consultation.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.



Sources:
https://www.products-liability-insurance.com/7-areas-ripe-marijuana-litigation/
https://www.marijuanaventure.com/examining-product-liability/
http://fortune.com/2018/08/22/legal-marijuana-market-size/
https://www.cdc.gov/marijuana/health-effects.html

Pursuing Compensation in Car Accidents Involving Self-Driving Vehicles

Web Admin - Monday, August 20, 2018
Crystal Lake autonomous vehicle accident attorneyNew technologies seem to appear on a daily basis, promising to improve our lives in a variety of ways. However, we must often weigh the benefits of these new developments with the risks they bring. Self-driving cars are one notable example of this type of technology. While autonomous vehicles may provide their owners a great deal of convenience, many people are concerned about whether they improve safety on the road or present risks to drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. In addition, when a self-driving vehicle is involved in a car accident, people who are injured may have difficulty determining how to recover compensation.

Legal Issues in Self-Driving Car Accidents

People who are injured in car accidents have the right to pursue financial compensation from the party or parties who were liable for their damages (which may include the costs of medical care, lost income due to missed work, property damage, and pain and suffering). Typically, a person must show that their injuries occured because of someone else’s negligence. In most cases, the liable party is a driver who was not following the rules of the road or operating their vehicle safely.

Self-driving cars are likely to make the identification of liable parties more complicated. In some cases, an injured person may be able to bring a product liability lawsuit against the vehicle manufacturer or the developer of the software used to control the vehicle. However, a variety of factors can affect liability, such as whether a human driver was partially in control of a self-driving vehicle or whether a company that operates autonomous vehicles for hire can be considered a liable party. 

Contact a Schaumburg Car Accident Lawyer

94% of car accidents are caused by driver error, and proponents of self-driving cars believe that these vehicles can significantly reduce the number of accidents that occur. However, it is impossible to completely eliminate the possibility of accidents, and since self-driving cars are a new technology, the laws regarding how accidents involving these vehicles should be handled have not been fully defined. This means that those injured in an accident with an autonomous vehicle are likely to face some legal obstacles when they attempt to recover damages.

If you have been injured in a car accident involving a self-driving car, whether as a driver, passenger, or pedestrian, it is important to work with an attorney who can help you determine your best options for pursuing compensation. The Barrington personal injury lawyers of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC can help you understand the legal issues involved in your accident and help you receive the compensation you deserve from any and all liable parties. Call our office at 847-934-6000 to arrange a consultation.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.



Sources:
http://fortune.com/2018/04/25/self-driving-car-accident-fault/
https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/03/can-you-sue-a-robocar/556007/

McDonald’s Salads Linked to Food Poisoning Cases in Illinois

Web Admin - Thursday, July 19, 2018
Crystal Lake food poisoning injury attorneyEating food purchased from a restaurant or grocery store should not be a risky proposition, but in recent weeks, a number of Illinois residents and people in nearby states have become seriously ill after doing so. Dozens of cases of food poisoning have been reported and linked to salads sold at McDonald’s restaurants, and the problem is becoming more widespread, affecting people in several states throughout the Midwest. If you have experienced food poisoning because of contaminated salads or other foods, you should be sure to understand your options for recovering compensation for your damages.

The Dangers of Contaminated Salads and Produce

The current food poisoning case involves the Cyclospora parasite, which can cause intestinal illnesses to those who consume it. Infections from this type of organism are known as cyclosporiasis, and symptoms include explosive diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain or cramps, gas, fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, headaches, and fever. 

Cyclospora can be transmitted in fresh produce because these foods do not go through a cooking process that would kill the parasites. Washing or rinsing produce is not sufficient to remove these organisms.

After more than 100 reported cases of cyclosporiasis, McDonald’s has opted to remove salads from any restaurants that may have been affected by the outbreak. More than 3,000 restaurants are involved, and in addition to Illinois, people in Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Missouri may have been in danger of contamination.

This is not the only case of food poisoning from Cyclospora which occurred recently. In June, vegetable trays produced by Del Monte were found to be the source of an outbreak that affected more than 200 people in Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, and Minnesota. The company recalled several products from grocery stores in states throughout the Midwest. This outbreak appears to be unrelated to the contaminated salads from McDonald’s.

Contact an Inverness Personal Injury Attorney

Food poisoning can not only cause a great deal of pain and discomfort, but it can have serious, long-lasting effects on one’s health. If you have contracted cyclosporiasis or any other type of infection after eating food purchased from a restaurant or grocery store, you may be able to pursue compensation for the damages which you have suffered. The Rolling Meadows personal injury lawyers at Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC can help you understand your options and advocate for your interests throughout the legal process. Contact us at 847-934-6000 to arrange a personalized consultation.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.



Sources:
https://wqad.com/2018/07/17/illinois-officials-warn-of-food-poisoning-possibly-linked-to-mcdonalds/
http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2018/07/parasites-linked-to-mcdonalds-likely-not-part-of-del-monte-outbreak/#.W09ld9hKiV4
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/07/us/del-monte-vegetable-trays-parasite-nyt.html

Safety Tips to Reduce the Chances of Motorcycle Accident Injuries

Web Admin - Monday, June 04, 2018
Rolling Meadows motorcycle accident lawyerAs summer approaches in Illinois, more and more motorcyclists are enjoying the warm weather and spending time on the road. However, the increased number of motorcycles on the road means that motorcycle accidents are more likely. 

Motorcycle drivers and their passengers are much more likely to be injured in a collision than those who are driving or riding in vehicles. In fact, the National Safety Council has reported that while only 3% of registered vehicles in the United States are motorcycles, motorcyclists make up 13% of all traffic fatalities. In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has reported that motorcyclist fatalities occur 27 times more often than fatalities in other motor vehicles.

Since motorcyclists do not have the safety features and protections provided by a car or truck, they should take extra care to protect themselves and take precautions to avoid accidents. Here are some safety tips that all cyclists should follow:

- Wear a helmet - Helmets are not required for adult motorcyclists in Illinois, but wearing one is strongly recommended, since it can greatly reduce the chances of head injuries. In fact, cyclists who wear helmets are three times more likely to survive head injuries experienced in a collision. Helmets should be approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation, and they should be securely fastened while riding.

- Use proper eye protection - Goggles can protect cyclists’ eyes while riding, but a full face shield offers more protection from insects, dirt, rain, or other elements that can cause pain and distraction. Goggles or face shields should be shatter-resistant and free of scratches while providing a clear field of vision, and they should be fastened securely so they do not come off while riding.

- Wear proper clothing - Cyclists should wear clothes that fully cover their arms and legs. This provides protection from weather and the moving parts of a motorcycle, and it can also provide protection in a crash. Wearing brightly colored or reflective clothing can help ensure that a cyclist will be seen by other drivers on the road.

- Drive defensively - Many motorcycle accidents occur because drivers do not see motorcycles around their vehicles. Cyclists should take extra care to ensure that they do not drive in other cars’ blind spots or follow vehicles too closely, and they should always follow the rules of the road.

- Never drink and drive - Alcohol impairment makes it unsafe for a driver to operate any vehicle, but the loss of coordination and reaction time can be especially dangerous for motorcyclists. Even if a cyclist is not above the legal blood alcohol limit of .08%, it is best to avoid operating a motorcycle after drinking any amount of alcohol or using drugs that can impair one’s driving ability.


Contact a Palatine Motorcycle Accident Attorney

Motorcyclists are much more likely to be injured in a collision than other drivers, and when an accident is caused by a person’s negligence, a cyclist may be able to pursue compensation for their injuries. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, the attorneys of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC can work with you to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Contact a Schaumburg personal injury lawyer today at 847-934-6000 to schedule a personalized consultation.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.



Sources:
https://www.nsc.org/road-safety/safety-topics/motorcycle-safety
https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/motorcycle-safety
https://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/publications/pdf_publications/dsd_x140.pdf

Pain and Suffering in Personal Injury Cases

Web Admin - Tuesday, April 14, 2015

pain and suffering, Rolling Meadows personal injury attorneyWhile advances in technology have greatly improved vehicle safety, severe injuries still occur in automobile accidents. When an individual’s injuries are the result of the fault of another person, it is possible for that individual to file a personal injury lawsuit. A difficult, but important, part of a personal injury damage award to determine is an individual’s pain and suffering.

What is Pain and Suffering?

Pain and suffering is a form of non-economic damage, which means, unlike a person’s medical bills, for example, it is not readily quantifiable. Pain and suffering may be requested as part of a personal injury claim, in addition to other claims, such as medical expenses. Critically, an individual has two years from the time of the accident to file a lawsuit, which is known as the statute of limitations. There are two forms of pain and suffering: physical and mental. Physical pain and suffering involves a person’s actual physical injuries, like pain or discomfort.

Mental pain and suffering involves the negative emotions that are connected with physical pain or the trauma associated with the accident and the injuries that result. These emotions may include, but are not limited to, mental anguish, emotional distress, fear, anger, humiliation, or anxiety. If the mental pain and suffering is severe enough, it may result in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Calculating Pain and Suffering

Because pain and suffering is subjective, it can be difficult to value. Different individuals will respond differently to injuries and trauma they experience. As a result of the subjective nature of valuing pain and suffering, it is common that the judge will not have specific guidelines to give to the jury. In Snover v. McGraw, the Supreme Court of Illinois held that, “an award for pain and suffering is not as readily calculable…and jurors must draw on their real-life experiences in making an award.” As a result, it is critical to present as much evidence as possible to best convey to the jury the pain and suffering endured.

One way to determine the value of pain and suffering is to multiply the total medical bills and lost earnings (known as actual or special damages) by some factor, usually between 1.5 and four. For example, if an individual’s actual damages are $50,000 and the multiplier is two, the pain and suffering award would be $100,000. The multiplier is usually determined after considering various factors, such as the severity and long-term health consequences of injuries sustained.

There are some other factors that can affect a plaintiff’s pain and suffering award, including:

  • - Whether the plaintiff is credible and likeable;
  • - Whether the plaintiff’s testimony relating to his or her injuries remains consistent; and
  • - Whether the opinion of the plaintiff’s physician supports the plaintiff’s claims of pain and suffering.

An accident can be a frightening ordeal, even if no injuries result. If you have been involved in an accident caused by another person that resulted in harm to you, contact an experienced Illinois personal injury attorney today. Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC provides representation to individuals located in the northwest suburbs, including Rolling Meadows, Palatine, and Barrington.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.

Fire Safety and Landlord Responsibility

Web Admin - Thursday, December 18, 2014

Illinois smoke detector, landlord responsibility, Schaumburg personal injury attorneyWith the nights getting longer and the days getting colder, fire safety is especially important during the holiday season. In fact, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's statistics, over $2 billion in property damage occurs every year as a result of winter fires. The culprits can vary from holiday cooking and decorating, to an increased use of space heaters to keep out the chill. Fortunately, there are numerous steps that people can take to keep themselves safe from fire damage during the winter. Additionally, landlords should pay special attention during this season, so that they can be sure that they understand their fire responsibilities.

Fire Prevention Tips

Some fire prevention tips like making sure to maintain working smoke detectors are repeated year round, but there are some special things that people can do during this time of year to reduce their risk of fire. One of the major culprits of holiday fires are holiday decorations. People can find it tempting to string together strand after strand of lights, but these sorts of decorations are only built to connect so many times. Plugging too many into each other can risk creating a spark.

Holidays also tend to be a time of year where there are a lot of open flames around the house. Whether it is a fire in the fireplace or a set of candles in a menorah, these can pose a serious risk if people do not properly supervise them, or they keep them too close to flammable items like curtains or dried out Christmas trees. Similarly, excessive use of space heaters, especially overnight or when no one is home, can also set fire to household objects.

Landlord's Responsibilities

Landlords also have a variety of special responsibilities during this season. One of the most important is set out in the Illinois Smoke Detector Act. This Act makes it the responsibility of a building's owner to install smoke detectors, and to maintain the detectors in common areas like hallways. Similarly, it makes it the tenant's responsibility to maintain the detectors that the owner has put in their living areas, and it makes it the tenant's responsibility to notify the landlord if there is a problem with the detector that they cannot fix.

Landlords also have a duty to ensure that their building is up to local building codes. This includes having safe electrical wiring, which can be especially important around the holiday season. Failure to maintain adequate wiring can be a fire risk, and even if it does not cause a fire it violates the tenant's right to a habitable structure.

Fires can be some of the most devastating disasters on a personal level. If your home was damaged or destroyed in a fire and you think someone else was to blame, contact an Illinois personal injury attorney today. Our team represents people across the northwest suburbs, including in Schaumburg, Mount Prospect, and Arlington Heights. Call Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC to schedule a consultation with an experienced lawyer.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.

Liability for Accidents on the Golf Course

Web Admin - Tuesday, June 03, 2014

illinois golf accident lawyerWith the warm weather finally here, many people have already begun making their way back to the golf courses. Yet, the sport is not without its legal liabilities. Errant golf ball strikes are a common hazard that can result in damage to nearby property, harm to other players, and even death in some more serious circumstances. Additionally, many golf games involve the players drinking during the game or at the clubhouse afterwards. While the players themselves should always monitor their own intake and drink responsibly, the golf course may also be responsible for damage caused by their drinking if it sells them the alcohol.

Errant Golf Balls

The question of liability for errant golf balls hinges on whether the person or property that was damaged was actually on the course or simply nearby.  One of the most common types of accidents on the course occurs when one player injures another. The occasional poorly aimed shot can go awry and hit another player on another hole or standing off the course. Ordinarily, landowners, like the golf course, do not have a duty to protect people on their land from obvious dangers, like errant shots on a golf course, but such a duty does arise when the owner can reasonably anticipate the danger. Consequently, if there is an area, such as a clubhouse deck, where missed shots land with some frequency, the course may be liable to the injured player.

Importantly, this protection does not necessarily extend to people who have purchased homes near the golf course. Errant shots do occasionally hit those homes or the people in them, and when that happens courts have found it to be the homeowner’s responsibility. One example of this happened in 2005 when a missed drive struck a woman sitting in her garden. The court refused to award damages based on the legal doctrine of “assumption of risk,” which means that homeowners who buy houses near a course are aware that shots may occasionally land on their property and they accept that risk when they buy the house.

Alcohol on the Course

That golf courses tend to sell alcohol also implicates something known as “dram shop laws.” These are laws that make alcohol distributors liable for the damage caused by drunken patrons in certain circumstances. These laws allow people who have suffered injury or property damage because of a drunken person to sue the business that furnished the liquor, provided that the business sold enough alcohol to be responsible for the person’s drunkenness and that the drunkenness was the cause of the damage.

If you were recently injured on a golf course, contact a skilled Illinois personal injury attorney today. Our firm counsels clients in towns around the northwest suburbs, including in Crystal Lake, Buffalo Grove, and Deer Park.

About the Author: Founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, Colin Gilbert, received his J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of law in 2005. Colin argues cases across many practice areas including criminal defense, collections, civil litigation, real estate law, and corporate law. Colin is an active member of the Board of Governors of the Northwest Suburban Bar Association and the Illinois Creditors Bar Association. He is currently Vice President of the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce, and is a Commissioner for the Village of Arlington Heights. Colin has a 10.0 Attorney rating on Avvo, and was named one of the 2014 “Top 40 Under 40” Trial Lawyers in Illinois by the National Trial Lawyers Association.

Illinois Motorcycle Accidents: Unique Laws Differ from Car Crashes

Web Admin - Thursday, May 08, 2014

illinois motorcycle accident attorneySome of the most dangerous traffic accidents that occur in Illinois involve motorcycles. These crashes can often cause more severe injuries due to the lack of some safety features that are common in cars. In fact, while motorcycle crashes account for only 1.5 percent of total crashes, they are responsible for 16.7 percent of fatal crashes, according to a report released by the Illinois Department of Transportation. Motorcycle accidents are an unusual case of traffic accident. While the law surrounding them is similar to the law surrounding ordinary car crashes, there are technical differences between cars and motorcycles that can make motorcycle accidents unique.

Motorcycle Accident Law

The law surrounding motorcycle accidents is much like the law surrounding other traffic accidents. The most common person from whom the victim attempts to receive compensation is the other driver involved in the accident. However, some cases may also involve lawsuits against the manufacturer of the motorcycle or against the municipality in which the accident occurred.

In a case against another driver, the most common legal theory will be one known as negligence. To prove that the other driver was negligent, the victim will need to show four things:

  • 1. The other driver had a duty to exercise reasonable care not to harm the other driver (this is almost always true of people sharing the road);
  • 2. The other driver acted in some way that breached that duty (speeding, talking on the phone, etc.);
  • 3. That breach caused the accident; and
  • 4. The accident caused harm to the plaintiff.

If a person is pursuing a case against the manufacturer, then their lawyer will be arguing that the product, in this case the motorcycle, was flawed in some way. This could be from issues like substandard manufacturing or poor overall design. Finally, in rare cases, a victim may be able to sue the city in which the accident occurred, if poor upkeep of infrastructure caused the accident.

Unique Concerns for Motorcycles

While the law that applies to motorcycle accidents looks very similar to the law that applies to traffic accidents, there are some unique considerations for bikers. One of the most common issues is that of “comparative negligence.” Comparative negligence is a doctrine that tells injuries to reduce the damages that a victim can recover if the victim’s negligence also led to the accident in some way. While this doctrine applies to standard car accidents as well as motorcycles, riding a motorcycle requires extra skill and may involve more danger, so there are more chances to apply the doctrine. Similarly, suing the manufacturer after the motorcycle accident can also present unique challenges because of the differences in engineering and technology for motorcycles as opposed to automobiles.

If you have recently been involved in a motorcycle accident, contact an experienced Illinois personal injury lawyer today. Our skilled attorneys handle cases from across the northwest suburbs, including towns like Deer Park, Barrington, and Des Plaines.

About the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.


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